Making classrooms fun and safe

Keeping families and students safe and making learning fun for students is the priority for WVEA members like Barbie Dailey. A first grade teacher at Weberwood Elementary in Kanawha County, she made a smiley face on her mask, she says, “to remind my students how I feel about them. Hiding your face from students all day is hard for young children.”

An educator since 2006, she has her master’s in early childhood education and says she truly enjoys teaching in the primary grades. “Teaching is a special profession, and this year brought a lot of uncertainty. I hope that my students always know how loved they are.”

Dailey says the most difficult thing about arranging her classroom was “making sure my students still felt the ‘community of our classroom and that they belonged. It’s been scary for them to see the changes, the masks, the shields, no field trips, and most of the safety that our classroom offers.”

“My most valuable take away from returning to in-person learning is that I need my students as much as they need me,” she said. “Hearing them say they wish they were at school while remote learning was hard. My students have been willing to give up their weekends, ha! Six and seven year-olds have a way with their words, affection, and knowledge that is hard to acquire in any other place. We all need a routine and that routine brings us safety and consistency.”